24 May 2019
World Cup: Can Australia win the record sixth title?
As they prepare to participate in the 12th edition of the ICC World Cup, they are also the defending champions in England this time.
Being touted as one of the favorites, are Australia strong enough to win their sixth?
We analyze here.
Australia to open proceedings against Afghanistan
Following is Australia's schedule (3 PM IST):
June 1: vs Afghanistan, Bristol (6 PM)
June 6: vs Windies, Nottingham
June 9: vs India, The Oval
June 12: vs Pakistan, Taunton
June 15: vs Sri Lanka, The Oval
June 20: vs Bangladesh, Nottingham
June 25: vs England, Lord's
June 29: vs New Zealand, Lord's (6 PM)
July 6: vs South Africa, Manchester (6 PM)
Australia have lost nine ODI series since 2015 World Cup
Considering Australia's performance in ODIs since their 2015 World Cup triumph, they have endured a difficult period.
Out of 19 series, they have lost nine, while three of those losses have come at home.
Having played 76 ODIs during this phase, they have won 37 and lost 36, as they have a win percentage of just 52.63.
Australia have a balanced squad
Compared to their 2015 winning squad, Australia have a relatively bowling dominated squad than the previous team.
While they do have a few stars from the 2015 team, they have gone with several bowling options.
A packed bowling department with top stars on offer
As for their bowling, their arsenal is stacked with giants like Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc, who are likely to give a tough time to the batsmen.
Overall, they have a strong team.
Over-reliance on top-order, Aaron Finch's poor captaincy
On the other hand, they do have a couple of weaknesses.
To start with, they are somewhat reliant on their top-order, especially Warner and Smith, which is likely to put extra pressure on Marsh and Maxwell.
Also, Finch has not been as promising as a skipper, having won just 10 out of 18 matches he has led to date.
Australia's recent twin series win likely to drive them going
Despite their rough patch in the previous year, Australia have managed to turn things around, winning a couple of ODI series against India and Pakistan.
While the author feels that this new found form is likely to drive them going, they need to stop relying on their top-order and play as a unit.
Overall, they do have a realistic chance of defending the title.